The Current

Rising STI rates prompt questions about sex ed for young and old

Rates of gonorrhea and chlamydia among middle-aged and older adults are on the rise. And Alberta's latest figures on STIs show troubling increases among a wider age group. The Current looks at a call for sex education for the ages - from teens to their grandparents.
Recent new STI statistics has prompted Alberta Health to promise an increase in awareness programs that include an online campaign called Sex Germs. (Pichi Chuang/Reuters)

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If warnings about syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia sound like throwbacks from a different era — think again. Those sexually transmitted infections aren't merely resurgent today. In some areas, the rates are spiking.

New data from Alberta shows that STI rates are the highest they've been since the late 1980s. Alberta chief medical officer of health, Karen Grimsrud, says it's reached "outbreak levels."

Reported cases of syphilis doubled in Alberta from 2014 to 2015, and gonorrhea was up by 80 per cent.  And while new social media tools may have played a part in the spread of these STIs, it's hardly just younger Canadians who are being infected.

STI rates are on the rise. Do Canadians know enough about sexual health? (Vincent Anderlucci/Flickr cc)

So with STI rates on the rise, is our sex ed failing both the young and old?

Guests in this segment:

Do we need to rethink the conversation about sex education? 

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This segment was produced by The Current's Karin Marley and Ines Colabrese.